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Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Way of the Cross

While on Tuesday, Mardi Gras, I went to the first in a Lenten series on the Beatitudes and on Ash Wednesday I went to mass and received ashes, swearing myself then as a penitent, on Friday I began really began my Lent.  Friday I went to mass and then a soup supper.  I stayed at church and went to a Stations of the Cross and a Benediction.  I contemplated the exposed Eucharist for a few minutes and I returned home to do my daily bible study.   As a child in Catholic school on First Fridays and all Fridays during the 40 days of Lent, with my classmates I did the Stations of the Cross.  I complained silently to myself as the hard floor seemed to hurt my knee caps as a genuflected at each station I felt a bit of boredom at the length and repetition of the stations. But many years later, when I returned to Seattle and visited the church I did the stations in, I felt disappointed that the hard aisle floors had been carpeted over.

By the traditional language and methods of St. Alphonsus Liguori's "The Way of the Cross" , at each station commemorating the pilgrims stations of Jesus's journey to his death in Jerusalem, among other things wee say, "I love Thee, my beloved Jesus, I love Thee more than myself; I repent with my whole heart of having offended Thee.  Never permit me to separate myself from Thee again.  Grant that I may love Thee always, and then do with me what Thou wilt."

As I familiar stations rang across my tongue and through my mind and heart, this time my thoughts went not so much to sin and repentance but more to love.  My thoughts went to the total submission to the beloved, to the following of the Beatitudes, to my passion of Christ. I felt the familiar melting of the heart, the beginning of the diminishment of self.  The repetition and all suffering  associated with stations has long ago ceased to be tedium.  Rather the repetition is a repeated calling out to the beloved.  The suffering is like the pricking of fingers on thorns of roses which one is picking for the beloved. 

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